SPEECH AT SIGNING CEREMONY
“Say NO to violence against women”
(co-organized by VWU and UNIFEM on 31st October 2008 in Hanoi)
Madame Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa
President of the Vietnam Women’s Union
Dear Mr. John Hendra, the UN Resident Co-ordinator to Vietnam
Dear Doctor Suzette Mitchell, UNIFEM Country Program Manager to Vietnam
First of all, let me, on behalf of the Vietnam Women’s Union, to warmly welcome you all to this meaningful ceremony. We wish distinguished guests, sisters good health and happiness.
Violence against women nowadays becomes a pressing issue of not only one or some nations but also of the whole world. At the global level, among every three women, one of them experiences from violence at any forms in her life. In Vietnam, researches revealed that women are mainly target groups of domestic violence and that it is rooted in the patriarchal ideology that looked down at women and inherited from generation to generation. Even for women who are victims of the violence, in some cases, also believe that violence is accepted if they commit mistake. It is obviously that violence against women is the highest evidence of gender inequality, causes severe consequences. It violates human dignity and rights, damages physical and spiritual health of women victims, causes also negative impacts on national socio-economic and cultural growth. Therefore, it is not only a matter of each person, each family but a mater of the public. Every one in the society should show their concern and pro-action for a life without violence.
In Vietnam, although official statistics on this mater are not available, according to surveys conducted in 8 provinces on violence against women, 23% families have physical violence, 25% have spiritual violence and 30% of wives interviewed have been forced to have sex. This status would raise a red alarm. According also to this survey, 60-75% women have suffered from any of the violence forms including economic, sexual, spiritual and physical aspects. Violence against women occurs both in rural and urban areas, in any family whether it is the family of a farmer, an intellectual or a free laborer. As you may know, Vietnam is one of the first nations which ratified the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1981. Recently, the Law on Gender Equality was approved by the Vietnam National Assembly of the XI Legislature on 29 November 2006, and was effective on 1st July 2007; After that, on 21st November 2007, the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control was also approved by the Vietnam National Assembly of the XI legislature and was effective on 1st July 2008. These two important legal documents reflect concern of the Vietnam Communist Party and State’s on fulfilling international commitment for promoting gender equality and determination for ending domestic violence, especially violence against women in Vietnam.
On the global level, the annual 25 November day is chosen by the United Nation as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In order to mobilize public support to mitigate violence against women, since 2007, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has raised an initiative of launching a global campaign “Say No to violence against women” by gathering signatures of people in all over the world. These signatures will be collected and handed over to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to support his efforts, in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 25 November 2008
Being a social-political organization which is mandated to protect women’s legitimate rights and interests in Vietnam, for the past years, the Vietnam Women’s Union has conducted various practical activities to promote gender equality and domestic violence prevention, especially its active contribution to the formulation and promulgation of the Laws on Gender Equality and Domestic Violence Prevention. The Vietnam Women’s Union highly appreciates UNIFEM’s initiative of organizing the campaign on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women this year. With our responsibility and capacity, we have called and gave directions to Women’s Union at all levels through out the country to response to the campaign “Say NO to violence against women” by signing in the books collected by Women’s Union at all levels or in UNIFEM’s website.
May I request Women’s Union to mobilize their staffs, women, members and men actively to take part in the campaign, contributing to reach the target of this global campaign, to strengthen the IEC activities of Laws on Gender Equality and Domestic Violence Prevention to each person and community; to collaborate with ministries and branches in organizing activities of intervention, support and protection of victims and to raise voice to condemn domestic violence and violence against women.
On behalf of the Presidium of Vietnam Women’s Union’s, we would like to express our sincere thanks to UNIFEM for its support and close cooperation in the past years. We would like also to thank representatives of national and international organizations, reporters, journalists, staffs and women’s members for attending this ceremony and we are looking for all distinguished guests and participants to show your commitment to “Say NO to violence against women” during the campaign and your daily life as well.Thank you very much for your attention./.